Arlene Violet: White House, GOP Senate disgrace themselves

By Arlene Violet
Posted 8/9/20

Being down on your luck isn’t synonymous with “less than”, something the White House and the GOP Senate seem to have confused. How else would somebody conclude otherwise when they …

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Arlene Violet: White House, GOP Senate disgrace themselves


Being down on your luck isn’t synonymous with “less than”, something the White House and the GOP Senate seem to have confused. How else would somebody conclude otherwise when they study the recent coronavirus aid package unveiled by the Republicans which caters to the whims of the president rather than the needs of citizens who are reeling from the pandemic?

Smack in the legislation is a $1.7 billion tab for a new FBI building across the street from President Trump’s hotel. He doesn’t want a competitor hotel to take over the site so taxpayers are expected to dish out protection money for his benefit. As of June 29, 30 billion people were collecting unemployment benefits with the overwhelming majority forced out of work because of the pandemic and some states reopening far too fast.

Mr. Trump and the Senate Republicans don’t want to give more unemployment benefits in excess of workers’ earned wages. Putting aside the fact that these folks also lost health insurance which they must now bear, let’s assume, arguendo, the GOP is correct that two-thirds of people are making more and that they are lazy lumps unwilling to go to work. In order for the GOP to claim that there is such an overage the party must know the amount of an additional payment that would rectify the “more than” problem it asserts. Why not just add on that amount to cover most cases rather than invent a system that requires a massive retooling of computer work with delays?

Research is readily available as to the retooling of schools to open for classes. Just as there is a registry of deteriorating roads and bridges a wealth of information exists as to the conditions of school facilities. Access that info with funds geared to improve the buildings to make them safe for students or close. The paltry funds advanced by the GOP are laughable in light of the articulated purpose to open schools. The Republicans create the impression that they are in lock-step with a president who wants at all costs, life included, to open the economy in order to pretend that the pandemic has abated.

Also opprobrious is the “wink wink” sweeping liability shield for businesses opening up. In effect, the Republicans are protecting places of work that continue to be sweat shops. The public has already been treated to the specter of meat processing facilities where workers, many minorities, were falling like flies with the spread of coronavirus because of a lack of hygiene protection. The provision doesn’t require adherence to regulations, only an effort to do so, a loophole that excuses noncompliance because of a lack of a real standard.

Initially, the president wanted no money for testing since the burgeoning coronavirus numbers make him look bad. The senate GOP lobbed in a token amount for testing, far below what is needed.
Senator Mitch McConnell and his lackeys didn’t do themselves any favors by waiting 2 months to come up with an alternative after the passage of the House legislation. Eyeing an Aug. 7 break, they are ramming an inadequate package so they can get to their vacations. They are tone deaf.

The GOP thus far is failing the country.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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